ARMENIAN VILLAGERS UNHAPPY WITH TURKISH TOMATOES
May 9 2011
Armenian tomatoes producers say imports from Turkey destroys their
local production. Hurriyet photo
A recent reaction by Armenian tomato producers to exports from Turkey
was right, still the complaints did not require a halt in imports and
exports between the two countries, said Armenian Deputy Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Affairs Samvel Kalstyan.
As their products remained unsold, tomato producers in Armania held
a protest last Friday in the Republic Square in Yerevan, the capital
city, calling for a ban on tomatoes imported from Turkey.
Even though border gates between Armenia and Turkey are closed,
businesspeople from both countries continue trading via Georgia.
Due to continental climate in the country, producers in Armenia are
not able to plant sufficient amount of tomatoes. Tomatoes are raised
only in greenhouses there.
Speaking to the Hurriyet Daily News, Armenian Deputy Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Affairs Samvel Kalstyan said he found the
reaction of Armenian people right. “Still, the situation does not
require a halt in imports and exports between the two countries.”
Kalstyan said the Georgian government imposed a quota for potatoes
and grapes imported from Armenia last year. “But this situation does
not require a halt in imports and exports. Imports and exports can be
continued with some measures and regulations, without making producers
aggrieved,” Kalstyan told the Daily News.
Gagik Makaryan, chairman of the Republican Union of Employers of
Armenia, who has close relations with businesspeople from Turkey since
2008, told the Daily News that reactions of Armenian producers are
right. “First of all, the priority should be in Armenian producers. If
not the production capacity in the country may be damaged.”
“Just like other countries, Turkey also imposes taxes and quota to
its imports to not to damage its domestic market. This is normal.
Otherwise, producers may be aggrieved and this causes inequality,”
Farmers can obtain 70 to 80 kilograms tomatoes from one square meter
land in Europe and Turkey, said Professor Antreas Melikyan from the
Agrarian University in Yerevan. “But in Armenia, the production per
one square meter is 20 kilograms,” Melikyan told the Daily News. “Due
to difficulties and problems caused by the climate, villagers should
be supported by the government.”
From: A. Papazian